"a proper nightmare with just a couple of redeeming..."

About: Harrogate District Hospital

My GP asked for me to attend for an urgent MRI due to sudden loss of use of legs. I phone A and E in advance to let them know and was told not to bother coming as the scanner was shut for the day so they ' wouldn't do anything'. I went the next morning hoping to catch them at a better time. I was told that I could have a scan at 5 and to go home in the meantime - although I was there alone and home was 10 miles away! On arrival that afternoon the A and E receptionist directed me to go to X ray for a scan. I could only walk a few steps but no assistance was given. On arrival at x ray I was told there was a temporary scanner in use and that I would need to make my way there. It was the other side of the hospital! I told the receptionist I couldn't walk and she said she was on her own and it was ' nothing to do with her'. She got someone to give me directions. I got lost and ended up on a ward. The staff there were fab and we're horrified I had been sent on foot in that state. MRI staff were also great and told me I could have come the night before as they opened until 9. The A and E staff had misinformed us. The A and E doc was lovely but advised me that something was clearly very wrong and that I needed a neurology referral - then told me to arrange it through my GP. I'm guessing that was about budgets. My GP tried to get the referral but was told the earliest they could see me was in about 5 weeks time so is now sending me to a private hospital instead. Summary: Internal communications: terrible Admin staff: misinformed / uncaring and taking decisions that impact patient care Doctors: Great but limited by what appears to be budget constraints that push patients back to GP Overall: Really needs sorting out. I deliberately timed my visit to avoid arriving at a busy time. The overall experience was pretty poor and left my poor GP picking up the pieces.

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Response from Harrogate District Hospital

Dear Joanne Thank you for taking the time to contact us and I am sorry that you had difficulity accessing the services you needed in a timely way. I also apologise that the care you describe was not of the quality that we would expect. The Radiology Department run services beyond 5pm to make it more conveniant for people to access their services, which have a high demand. I will enusre that other teams are made aware of this. You were referred back to your GP for your Neurology Department not because of budgets, but because the systems used across the NHS need your GP to refer you. This is because you can choose which Hospital you go to for the appointment and which Consultant you are placed in the care of. It is to improve patient choice, rather than saving money. We would be happy to look into your experience with us in more detail. If you would like us to do so, please contact the Patient Experience Team on (01423) 555499 or email thepatientexperienceteam@hdft.nhs.uk I apologise again that the quality of care you describe was not of an acceptable standard and thank you for drawing this to our attention so that we can learn from it. Chris Watt Head of Communications Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

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